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Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar
  • Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar , was a Bengali polymath from the Indian subcontinent, and a key figure of the Bengal Renaissance.
  • He was a philosopher, academic educator, writer, translator, printer, publisher, entrepreneur, reformer and philanthropist.
  • His efforts to simplify and modernize Bengali prose were significant. He also forced the British to pass the widow remarriage act.
  • Ishwar Chandra Bandyopadhyay was born in a Bengali Hindu Brahmin family to Thakurdas Bandyopadhyay and Bhagavati Devi at Birsingha village in the Ghatal subdivision of Paschim Midnapore District in current day West Bengal on 26 September 1820.
  • At the age of 9, he went to Calcutta and started living in Bhagabat Charan’s house in Burrabazar, where Thakurdas had already been staying for some years. Ishwar felt at ease amidst Bhagabat’s large family and settled down comfortably in no time.
  • He cleared all the examinations with excellence and in quick succession. He was rewarded with a number of scholarships for his academic performance.
  • To support himself and the family, Ishwar Chandra also took a part-time job of teaching at Jorashanko. Ishwar Chandra joined the Sanskrit College, Calcutta and studied there for twelve long years and passed out of the college in 1841 qualifying in Sanskrit Grammar, Literature, Dialectics [Alankara Shastra], Vedanta, Smruti and Astronomy.
  • As was the custom then Ishwar Chandra married at the age of fourteen. His wife was Dinamani Devi.
  • Narayan Chandra Bandyopadhyaya was their only son.In the year 1839, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar successfully cleared his law examination. In 1841, at the age of twenty one years, Ishwar Chandra joined Fort William College as head of the Sanskrit department.
  • After five years, in 1846, Vidyasagar left Fort William College and joined the Sanskrit College as ‘Assistant Secretary’.
  • Vidyasagar established Barisha High School in Kolkata in 1856 by amulya ambati the reformer.
  • Championed the upliftment of the status of women in India, particularly in his native Bengal. Unlike some other reformers who sought to set up alternative societies or systems, he sought to transform orthodox Hindu society from within.
  • With support from people like Akshay Kumar Dutta, Vidyasagar introduced the practice of widow remarriages to mainstream Hindu society.
  • His pleas were heard and arguments were accepted when the Hindu widow remarriage Act 1856 was decreed on July 26, 1856.
  • When Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was on the post of inspector he saw the miserable situation of education and saw the higher literacy rate in the rural area of Bengal. The tradition of child marriage was everywhere due to lack of education.
  • Ishwar Vidyasagar realized that only education can change this miserable situation and could uplift the society.
  • To demolish the edifice of distress, he opened around twenty model schools and enrolled 1300 students. Vidyasagar opened thirty-five exclusive schools for girls to spread the education.
  • Ishwar Vidyasagar spent his last two decades in karmata (District of Jamtara) Jharkhand because he was unhappy with his wife due to their narrowmindedness. Later his health deteriorated and died on 29th of July, 1891 at the age of seventy.
  • The Karmata railway station where he lived has been renamed as Vidyasagar railway station.
  • Betaal Panchabinsati (1847)
  • Bangala-r Itihaas (1848)
  • Jeebancharit (1850)
  • Bodhadoy (1851)
  • Upakramanika (1851)
  • Bidhaba Bibaha Bishayak Prostab
  • Borno porichoy (1854)
  • kotha mala(1856)
  • Sitar Bonobas(1860)
  • Bengali Newspaper – Shome Prakash started publishing in 1858